tv [untitled] April 10, 2011 5:00pm-5:30pm PDT
american citizens. thank you for your time today. supervisor avalos: thank you. we very much appreciate it. >> i am john crew from the american civil liberties union of california. i will be happy to answer questions. this is an important topic. if we run out of time, i am happy to provide information later. i served as the police practices project director for 15 years. i served on the task force appointed by the police commission to draft san francisco intelligence policies. it is important for you to understand how it came about. it came about because the human rights commission held a similar hearing 20 years ago about similar issues. the board of supervisors endorsed it. the police. attention. they formed a task force that included a self -- myself and
top levels of the police reported. we sat down and rewrote the sfpd policies. we are proud of the effort. it has served san francisco well for 20 years. chief casey sat in on the meetings with us. he asked why they were endorsing the changes because it put restrictions on intelligence. he said, we are a local police department. we are not the cia. that is still the case today. we need transparency. we've had transparency around these issues in san francisco consistently for a number of years. that has disappeared in recent months for reasons we cannot tell. it is very timely you are looking into these issues. i will briefly point out that the joint chairs and task force
involves the assignment of police officers to the fbi. we are sending two officers full-time to work the fbi headquarters on joint terrorism activities. the police department has taken the position they cannot even tell us how many officers are assigned. they were publishing it. [tone!] supervisor avalos: what detailed do you have or how shall we try to procure more information about the joint task force? >> i think the starting point is the question they have refused to answer for reasons we do not understand. how many officers does the police department currently have a signed? under what rules are the operating? 8.0 are the rules of the police commission rules.
the general orders can only be changed or receive a waiver after a public hearing by the police commission. that is the way our civilian oversight system works. we do not know if san francisco officers are collecting intelligence under our rules and values or under the fbi rules passed in the later months of the bush administration. our rules are consistent with the california constitutional right to privacy put in by the voters of the state in 1974. we're talking about san francisco values. that amendment to our constitution was based on the argument of state senator marsconi who argued we needed more protection in california for privacy rights. in terms of our rules and what we want our officers to do is to only collect intelligence if we have reasonable suspicion of criminal activity.
for years, the san francisco police department has said that is what they are doing. in late 1996 and early 1997, the fbi said they wanted us to join the joint terrorism task force but waive the 8.0 rules. they wanted us to play by their rules. mayor willie brown said no and the idea was dropped. after september 11, san francisco joined the joint terrorism task force under a memorandum of understanding with the fbi that was publicly released. it says that san francisco rules shelby followed by san francisco officers. san francisco will help to supervise its own officers. the police department promised the police commission that those were still the rules being followed.
the special agent in charge of the fbi told us in 2005 that was still the case and we had nothing to worry about. here we are now. suddenly they will not answer the question. the san francisco police department has refused to release their current memorandum of understanding dole answered definitively if they are an following local or fbi rules. the assessments being collected by the fbi, the reason it came out was because the judicial committee asked for the information from the fbi. when this resolution asks for more transparency, this is a starting point. this committee can endorse the good work of the human rights comparecommission. i asked them to look into this. i believe there is great risk but there may be a secret
arrangement between the police department and the fbi to do and in iran -- an end run around the police department rules and the right to privacy laws. the fbi released something on the current memorandum of understanding. they released it as a public record. this shows that local officers are now falling fbi policies. they are outside the control of local supervision. why is it not being released in san francisco? is san francisco operating under the standard agreement was more if so, why did they think they could sign it without police commission approval? do they have a separate agreement that enforces the
local rules and local oversight? please make it public so we can discuss and evaluate it. you have been very patient with your time. i appreciate it. supervisor avalos: i have a question for the hrc director. >> i have a question for him quickly. the liaison officers and, are they the same as you understand with the joint task force? >> i am not an expert on this. i would encourage you to ask the police department. the joint terrorism task force is a particular unit that collects intelligence. you have to ask the police department on the so-called terrorist liaisons' they have assigned to their stations. what interaction they have with jtf intelligence, i do not know. >> there was a report issued last year.
this is slightly off the topic of the resolution before us but it is affiliated. there was a report issued last year by chief garscon that said that the liaison officers ranged from 40 to 100. are you aware of that? >> i am aware of the report. i do not know the meaning of it. from the aclu perspective, we are concerned about civil liberties and human rights. >> it says the goal is to do unspecified community outreach establish points of contact, and work with high risk business owners about potential terrorist threats and how to report such information to authorities. how is that being tracked right now?
>> i am from the asian law caucus. i would like to answer that. i think you are rightly concerned about these terrorist liaison officers. theoretically, their actions are audited. one thing we found out last year is that the audit is supposed to have been nearly of all intelligence anactivity to make sure that they were in compliance. those had not occurred in three years. the audits are cursory and do not go into details of intelligence activities. theoretically, if there are intelligence gathering activities occurring with these officers, that would be covered under the audit. the police commission would be looking at that. the jttf officers, anything
they do, the police commission is currently not allowed to look at. >> i have a question for to recess barks -- for teresa sparks. there are fears about the renewal of the police intelligence unit. since the report, what communication has happened with the police department about the report? >> the police department sent no one to the hearing. no one from the police department was in the hearing. the police commissioners did attend.
we had little contact with them during the formation. after we published the report, we sent the report to them asking for input. we have met with the airport and are in the process of sitting down with the sfpd to talk about recommendations. hopefully they will implement those on their own. i think there will be coordination with the police and the human rights commission to get this done. we're hopeful this can happen in a rapid and orderly fashion. supervisor avalos: you are talking about a joint hrc and police commission hearing? >> we're talking about working with them to set of meetings with various people within the department. ultimately, it could be a joint hearing for the commission depending on what happens. >supervisor avalos: i think that
will be important to do. it is important that we are airing this today. the fact that the police are not here today is a concern. i got a text from a police officer saying it is not the way it is being talked about. >> i think it would be important to present to them and get their comments. supervisor avalos: there is a need for this report to come out. there is a real problem and needs to be resolved. is a problem about fear or real intimidation? that needs to be aired. >> if there is a perception and year out there, the people they would turn to about real terrorist threats may not come forward. it is a public safety issue that
this community feel safe and like they should be able to talk to the sfpd and not feel fear from them. it is a public safety issue in addition to a human rights issue. supervisor avalos: i think there should be dialogue through the police commission on the report to get a response from the police department. i think that is the best way to proceed. >> i have more speaker cards.
whoever would like to speak, i have run out of cards. come after them. >> i am the immigration attorney at the ear of organizing center. we are a community-based organization -- the error of organizing center. we have a lot of contact with the arab community. we provide immigration legal services. we represent members of the larger emigrant community. after the comments of the police last year, many members of the community were concerned about the comments. it was not merely because of the words used by the police commissioner. that is why the apology itself was not a sufficient resolution to the problem. the main concern was that the words expressed were part of the prevailing attitude within law enforcement agencies in the way they conduct their policies.
this was said in a time and environment and general islam a phobia across the country. it was said in combination with other statements made by the chief of police with the suggestion that there needs to be every creation of the intelligence unit in san francisco. given the history of surveillance in san francisco, it was understandable people would be greatly concerned. it was also said at a time when these collaborative relationships between local law enforcement and federal agencies are being created like the joint terrorism task force. it is a relationship where no one knows how it operates, what the nature of it is, and what sort of rules are guiding it and what sort of accountability there is if state rules are being violated in conducting the
operation. this sort of racial profiling and guilt by association used in conducting law enforcement activities is not a way to maintain safety and security in san francisco. it does the opposite. [tone!] it creates mistrust in the community. supervisor avalos: next speaker, please. >> supervisors, the last name is kadir. i would add my voice in asking you to please get involved with the hrc recommendation. the situation in my view is a rather severe one. i can give you numerous accounts of my personal experience of
attacks on my person simply because of my faith. the place i live is operated by that rogue agency, namely the san francisco housing authority. however because the situation is in life and death one in some instances, i would like to share with you some words that will let you know how i feel about what is going on. look to the east, west, north, south paris it is severe. lives are being lost. these words were also burned by famous from minister, a british prime minister as the nazi bombs rained down on britain.
churchill said these words. they're still at sept today. if we must die, let it not be hunted and pendinned in an inglorious spot. if we must die, let us nobly die so that our precious blood will not be shed in vain. even the monsters we defy shelby constrained to honor us -- shall be constrained to honor us. kinsman, let us meet the common foe. although far outnumbered, let us show us brave. let us deal one fierce blow.
before a slide the open graves -- [tone!] pressed to the wall but dyi dyit fighting back. supervisor avalos: thank you. >> thank you. i am a man never -- i am a member of the arab council of san francisco. i have lived and worked in san francisco for over 20 years. what i am going to address to this committee is about the safety of our community. your approval of this report will assure that the residents of san francisco will be feeling
safe. i had the privilege of defending workers in san francisco. we had to fight against the power creating a climate of hate and fear. we want to make sure that the city of san francisco continues to raise the flag ship of protecting civil rights. and to and muslims have the right to feel safe and free -- arabs and muslims have the right to feel safe and free in san francisco along with every other minority in the city. i believe this is a no-brainer for this committee. we wanted to make sure that this goes through without any obstacles. supervisor avalos: thank you. commissioner de jesus.
>> i am a member of the san francisco police commission. i am speaking on behalf of myself as a resident of san francisco. i can also talk about what we're doing at the commission with regards to the recommendations made by the hearing. i support the recommendations made in the human rights findings. we're committed to exploring the sensitive issues we are discussing today. one of the findings was to change dgo's. i did put that on. i invited members of the joint task force. they cannot discuss it with us because george gascon had not gone over the changes.
we did bring up the joint terrorism task force. we did ask a member. we were told that would not be released. i was told even as a member of the commission that we do not have clearance to know the information. one of the other things of concern to me is that apparently the president reads them and signed off every six months. we only get the cryptic report. i am concerned. each commissioner has a duty to the citizens and department to understand what is going on and whether policies are being met or violated. when we get the audit, i cannot tell. we have a duty for each commissioner to know. i agree that transparency in the audit should be provided. i understand safety is an issue.
the other reports used to be much more detailed than what we have been getting in the last year or so. another thing that i think is a no-brainer is that we want to add actual or perceived citizenship status, religion, or creed. that is one of the changes. [tone!] we want to add religion, place of worship. that is part of the first amendment that we want to clarify. supervisor avalos: some of the concern we're having with the information shared by the committee is anecdotal is. there is not a lot of quantifying or empirical data that supports the assertions being made.
we look to the police commission as being the first stop in helping draw out the information. the police are not here to speak to this. that sort of takes the hearing off balance. i assume that has been the position like at the hrc hearings as well. that is not one we should capitulate to. i think there should be greater encouragement by us in the police commission to make sure the chief of police in the representatives of the police will be in front of the commission. these questions have tangible consequences how many officers are we talking about for the joint terrorism task force? are the full or part-time? if we do have liaison numbeoffis of between 4100, where is the
money coming from? these are not line item designations within our own budget. it is not clear that these are coming from the general fund or if these are being granted by homeland security grants. we do not have any of that data. it feels clumsy to us to be getting into the outer stratospheric assertions not knowing how the police would respond. i looked to the police commission. it looks like hrc has tried unsuccessfully to collect the data. >> the first one was informal and the fall. the other thing was to put the items on the agenda to change
the dgo and have input from the community. the joint terrorism task force is a serious issue. we need to give the other commissioners on board to set for a hearing and find out. i cannot tell you the number. i have no idea how many full- time or part-time officers participate in the joint task force. i have not gotten a clear answer about whether 8.0 applies to them or if they are working outside of that. i have not gotten a definitive answer on that. there are a lot of line items that are not detailed. that is the process we have to go through. i am committed to getting back on the agenda and trying to find out the information that we can. we at the department need to know the policy set and that
they are complying with the policy. we need to know that they are complying with the state, city statutes and the constitution. supervisor avalos: this is sort of the reincarnation of what was attempted in the early 1990's and then finally disbanded. we should know that. the police commission of all bodies should be informed that if that is the case, it is either a sanction strategy by city government and the police. if it is not welcomed or sanction, what is the response to that? the fact the process has not occurred or been vetted is what radiates concern with those represented here and their constituencies. >> in terms of revitalizing the
intelligence bureau, that has not come before the commission. there was a consent decree that it was imperative that the chief bring us the guidelines if he would be resurrecting that unit so the policy could be revisited. that has not been done. i am happy to raise this up with members of the task force. i have announced that those items get back on the agenda so that we can start exploring this. >> i have a quick question for a quick response. who is in head of the joint task force? >> i have been told i do not have clearance to know the information. that is something to follow up on. >> if you happen to know, great. let's hear it.
>> the terrorism task force is fbi. includes local, federal, and state agencies that work out of the fbi office. i am john crew from the aclu. >> i have exhausted the yellow cards. if anyone else would like to comment, this is the time to do so. it looks like public comment is closed. supervisor avalos: we can close public comments. i do not think this is information we should dismiss. it adds to the homework of the hrc, police commission, and board. i would think even